Budget suggestion series continues

Nathan Domenighini

Morton Mayor Norm Durflinger continued the second part of what has become an ongoing series of budget suggestions Monday evening during a village board meeting at Freedom Hall.

Just two weeks ago, Durflinger presented village-employee suggestions for potential budget-cut ideas that ranged from a reduction in custodial services at the Morton Police Department to the elimination of the deputy chief position.

This week, Durflinger read a list of department head suggestions for potential budget cuts to address a $2.7 million budget deficit.

The suggestions were broken down by department.

Paramedics

Paramedics could:

• lay off two paramedics and reduce ambulance coverage to one duty ambulance by 84 hours per week. Additional ambulances, when needed, would respond from another community

• postpone planned improvements to EMT’s 12-lead EKG network that relays heart-attack patient information to hospitals

• eliminate paramedic department ride-along training programs

• apply for a waiver to remove certain non-reusable medical devices from ambulances

Fire department

The fire department could:

• lay off fire prevention officer and

eliminate fire prevention, inspection and education services

• discontinue tours and public

demonstrations

• cancel scheduled outside training and certification classes for volunteer fire and rescue personnel

• postpone any improvements to the

Adams Street station

Public Works

The public works department could:

• eliminate mosquito abatement

• eliminate sidewalk repairs

• eliminate driveway curb and gutter participation

• eliminate weed spraying

• eliminate spring and fall landscape waste programs

• rescind present plan to pay for parking near MHS tennis courts

• cancel replacement of 200 block of West Adams

• cut street overlay

• eliminate capital projects

Zoning

The zoning department could:

• potentially raise fees regarding zoning cases

Police

The police department could:

• eliminate three officer positions

• eliminate one dispatcher position

“We are very, very efficient,” Durflinger said, adding that the items proposed would most likely cut into the quality of life in Morton.

Village trustee Ginger Hermann said trustees have a responsibility to consider their respective departments, as well.

Durflinger said he will propose suggestions to increase revenues at the next village board meeting Feb. 15.

“(Village trustee Darrell Vierling) has been telling us this would be coming,” Durflinger said. “Now, it’s here.”

Other business:

In other business, village trustees approved a resolution of support for the construction of an Eastern Bypass.

“This would be a strong economic development activity for Morton,” Durflinger said.

The village will send the resolution to the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Tri-County regional plan commission.